GENEVA -- Easily one of the hottest cars on the show floor of the 2015 Geneva Motor Show is this, the Ferrari 488 GTB. It's the replacement for the epic 458 Italia, and while it looks quite similar in some respects, an awful lot has changed both inside and out.
The biggest story is the power plant, a revised V-8 slung in the back and augmented by not one but two turbochargers, one for each exhaust bank. This brings power output from the 3.9-liter up to 660 horsepower and 560 foot-pounds of torque. That's about 100 horsepower more than the original version of the 458 -- a car not lacking in the oomph department. Despite all the extra plumbing, the car doesn't gain any weight, tipping the scales at 3,020 pounds. (That's 1,370kg.)
The other big change comes in aerodynamics. You'd be forgiven for mistaking it for a 458 at first glance, but look again and the differences become clear. The 488 GTB is overall a smoother, cleaner-looking car, with the massive cut-outs in the hood and rear fenders setting it apart.
Details like these, plus a revised under-tray, give the 458 GTB a remarkable coefficient of drag of just 1.67 despite offering twice the downforce of its predecessor. If that weren't enough, the car features a "blown" diffuser of the sort that's now been banned in Formula One. Whether such a thing is really useful on a car such as this remains to be seen, but it'll certainly give owners something to brag about.
Ferrari has also revised the electronic Side Slip Control system, creating a second-generation that is "more precise and less invasive." In other words: you'll feel like even more of a hero when sliding this thing around, even if it's really the car's brain keeping you on the road. The car's electronics can also dynamically adjust the suspension in addition to the differential and traction systems, all working in harmony to put in a time around Ferrari's Fiorano test track of just 1:23. That's faster than the Speciale edition of the 458, matching the bombastic F12 Berlinetta. The 0-62 mph sprint is dispatched in just 3 seconds.
The interior is revised as well, including an enhanced infotainment system that, like the 458, is fully focused on the driver.
The big question on the minds of many will be just how those twin-turbos will impact the driving dynamic of the screaming V-8 in the rear. Ferrari's press release specifically calls out a 0.8-second throttle response at 2,000rpm, certainly making it sound like lag will not be a problem.
No word on pricing yet, but before you ask, it's worth knowing that the current 458 Italia starts at roughly $230,000. Don't be surprised if the uprated 488 demands something of a premium.